- Salesforce's annual Dreamforce conference kicked off Tuesday, flooding San Francisco with tens of thousands of business leaders and software aficionados. Among the most prominent announcements was a deeper partnership with Apple to combine the CRM platform with iOS, including native apps for business, an SDK for developers and Siri integrations.
- Salesforce also announced an expanded alliance with Amazon Web Services to integrate and sync data between Salesforce Platform, AWS PrivateLink and Amazon Connect.
- The launch of Einstein Voice, which adds conversational capabilities to the artificial intelligence assistant, is banking on the expectation that half of searches will be conducted by voice by 2020. Einstein's new capabilities allow salespersons to dictate and enter data into the Salesforce mobile apps verbally, and an Einstein Voice Bots product allows customers to build assistants and engage with customers through various smart speakers.
With the increasingly entangled landscape of business technology, modern business tools have to cut across platforms and vendors.
Dreamforce 2018 has demonstrated Salesforce's recognition of and efforts to solve the problem of tying together the customer experience in marketing, transactions, self-enablement, service and other areas across platforms, according to Penny Gillespie, research VP at Gartner, in an interview with CIO Dive.
The acknowledgement of customer interest demonstrates that Salesforce is not just talking to customers, but listening to them, she said. The big question is how long it takes the CRM company to connect all key data points across the cloud; it has already started tying parts together, such as commerce and service.
The first major chapter of Salesforce's development saw the company bringing "software to the masses" through multitenant software as a service, Gillespie said. But customers still had to deal with hardware, availability and scalability, among other challenges.
So now, the company is working on bringing "intelligence to the masses," according to Gillespie. Today, data scientists are needed to assist in AI, but by taking the strategy of software to the masses and applying it to intelligence, Salesforce is looking to alleviate the need for data scientists and make the technology more accessible.
Voice capabilities for the Einstein assistant help customers access and use AI without extra technical help. Earlier this year, the company also launched a conversational queries feature that allowed customers to ask question-form queries of their data and receive answers in visual formats.
With Einstein making around 3 billion predictions a day for customers, opening up the technology through alternative forms, including voice, will help make one of the company's signature products more ubiquitous.